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Glossary of Terms for Central Vacuums

In order help you understand the technical terms and performance criteria used in the central vacuum industry, here are some brief explanations:

Airwatt
Airwatt is the measurement of the useful cleaning power of a central vacuum. It is calculated with a ratio between the airflow (CFM/CMH) and the water lift (H2O). It demonstrates the motor performance and its efficiency. This major technical data must be considered as an essential measurement when comparing central vacuums models.

Water Lift (H2O)
Water lift (H2O) mainly measures the central vacuum’s engine strength. This data calculates the engine power and its suction capacity. The suction strength (H2O) is an important technical data to consider as it allows you to measure potential cleaning power within your home.

Airflow (CFM/CMH)
The airflow, expressed in cubic feet per minute or in cubic meter per hour (CFM/CMH), measures the air volume being displaced in the central vacuum system. A high airflow creates an important air movement increasing the capacity to vacuum dust and dirt. Even if the airflow is an important data, it is the water lift (H2O) that maintains the airflow velocity necessary for dusting and cleaning thoroughly.

Water lift (H2O) VS Airflow (CFM/CMH)
Having understood these technical terms, it is important to know that these two pieces of data work together to ensure a maximal vacuuming power. They shouldn’t be considered independently. By relying on the useful cleaning power data (airwatts), you can easily choose a high performance vacuum cleaner which combines high airflow and suction.

Sound Pressure (SPL)
Sound pressure is the amount of air pressure fluctuation a noise creates.  We hear or perceive sound pressure as loudness.  Sound pressure also depends on the environment in which the source is located and the listener's distance from the source.

Sound Power (SWL)
Sound power is the sound energy tansferred per second from the noise source to the air.  A noise source has a given, constant sound power that does not change if the source is placed in a different environment.

Decibels (dB, dBA)
The decibel is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound or sound enery.  It is calculated on a logarithmic scale.  Therefore, if there is a 3 dB increase, sound energy is doubled. For a 10 dB increase, sound energy is increased by a factor of 10. For a 20 dB increase, sound energy is increased by a factor of 100, and so on.